[Howard] We here at Writing Excuses are super excited. It is time to begin registration for the 2015 Out Of Excuses Workshop and Retreat. We have some really exciting news associated with that. We're able to keep the price the same. Just $1200 as the entry price for the event. Also, this year, it's going to be on a cruise ship.
[Mary] That's right. So, you're probably going, "But why? Why a cruise ship?" For the first two years, the Out Of Excuses Workshop and Retreat was held at my parents house, which is great. The problem is... We had two problems. One is that we had to cap attendance at 24 people. Even though we knew that we could teach more and we could spend time with more people, the location just wouldn't accommodate more.
[Brandon] Right. And it was selling out in like...
[Dan] 30 seconds.
[Brandon] 15 seconds or something.
[Mary] Yeah, it was less than a minute. It was causing a lot of people stress. So we wanted to find a way that we didn't have to cap attendance. The other is that my parents house was built by my grandfather and it's really not handicapped accessible. So we wanted to have something that everybody could come to. At the same time, have a place that we could actually spend time with you. That we wouldn't... So we... I've been going on these cruises with... The steam punk cruise and it's been fantastic. It's been a great way to spend time with people and bond. So I thought let's try us on a cruise ship.
[Dan] It really is a great model. We were so excited when we figured out this. Because not only are you essentially getting for the exact same price a free cruise, you are also going to get way more of our time. Because there is a cruise ship staff, the podcasters... We won't have to be cooking the meals, we won't have to be cleaning things up, we won't have to be doing anything other than...
[Mary] Hanging out.
[Dan] Writing our books and hanging out with you guys.
[Howard] And putting on trousers.
[Dan] Well, there will be a certain element of pants worn...
[Mary] Or swimsuits, because cruise ship.
[Dan] Because Caribbean cruise. So, yes, we're going to have not only more classes, but more hangout time, more interaction time. It won't be the small intimate environment here in the house, but will be able to have more of you and will be able to spend more time with you.
[Brandon] Yeah, we've thought a lot about how to make the cruise a really great experience. Will have a dedicated space that belongs to us on the cruise in which we'll be holding our workshops, but also just hanging out and writing or chatting or things like this. We will be eating dinner with you and we'll be rotating the podcasters through your table so that you'll be able to eat with each of us. We will be doing all kinds of special events. We're going to have ways that you can find and make sure you're hanging out with other people who are writers so you can form writers groups or contacts with them if you want to. Again, we're going to be there with you the whole time. So if you've never been on a cruise before, don't feel worried about going on this cruise with people you haven't... Don't know. We're going to make sure that it is friendly and fun and that you'll be able to meet and get along with everybody.
[Mary] Actually, speaking of people you don't know, you can also bring people you do know with you. One of the other problems that a lot of people have when they're trying to schedule time for something like this is that it's time away from their family. One of the beautiful things about this is that you'll actually be able to bring your family with you. Now, the class times are dedicated for our students. But if you want to bring your family along, we actually have a special family rate that gets them on the ship with you, they get to have all the meals, they get to go on excursions, they just don't get to come in the classrooms.
[Howard] They can see the musical, they can hang out in the pool, they can do all of the...
[Mary] Except... They don't get to come in the classroom with you except if they are a child between the ages of 12 and 17, because we want to encourage young writers.
[Brandon] So they will be able to come to the classes at no additional expense, if they are there with you. This is going to be a lot of fun. The best writing I got done last year was when I went on a cruise with my family. It's just the sound of the ocean and the exotic places and the nice room and people bringing you food anytime of the day because I keep a weird schedule. Really handy for keeping me in the zone and keeping me writing.
[Mary] They're great at handling allergies. It's going to be a lot of fun.
[Howard] It can be handicap accessible. It can be gluten-free. It can be celiac and allergen friendly.
[Dan] Let's not forget again, all of the great classes. We've done this for two years now. The attendees from the past two retreats really rave about the level of interaction, the level of instruction that they're getting. This is not a beginners class. We have the ability to teach beginners if we want, but then also to drill into some very high-level writing stuff and teach some really great things. We're going to have... We're not going to tell you who it is yet, but we're going to have at least one special writing guest with us as well to help teach those classes.
[Mary] the other thing that we're planning on doing is that we're going to also make available to you some videos of homework assignments so that when you come on the ship, we're all starting from a similar vocabulary and we can just launch into some of this 201 and 301 material.
[Brandon] Now there is a little bit of a time constraint on this, because while you can register for the cruise right up to the moment that we leave if you want to, the prices go up the longer we wait.
[Mary] That is not us. That is the way the cruise ship is worked.
[Brandon] Beyond that, we're going to be offering breakout sessions. Now, depending on how large this gets, we may not be able to do breakouts with everyone, so we're going to run a lottery for it. What you do is... If you... The first 100 people that register, or we're going to set a cap on it at January 15, I believe. So as long as you register before then or are in one of the first 100, depending on... We'll give updates.
[Mary] Whichever comes first.
[Brandon] If the trajectory of a 100 is really fast, we'll give you a warning. You put your name in for a lottery to get a breakout session, which is basically a one-on-one time with one of us. Or a small group workshop where we read your fiction and talk to you about it.
[Howard] Bear in mind that that one-on-one time is something that would be scheduled and structured. That does not mean that you are... If you don't get the lottery, you're somehow not going to run into us in the dining room. Because as has already been described, we're going to be accessible. We're going to be spending time with you guys. That's why we come.
[Mary] Yeah. Then there's also things like... When we go to Jamaica, I... There's a place that I'm planning... There is a plantation that I'm planning on going and having tea at that is up at the top of a mountain and it's gorgeous and I want you to come with me.
[Howard] I'm trying to understand why we're spending so much time trying to convince them that a cruise is awesome.
[Mary] Well, a lot of people are afraid of cruises. Like before I went on a cruise, my impression of it was largely built on having watched episodes of the Love Boat. Which is not...
[Howard] That's not what it's like?
[Mary] No! It's like being in a high-end hotel resort and every day you have a different Caribbean island outside of your front door.
[Brandon] And every day when you come home at night, you then have instruction and classes with us.
[Dan] So let's recap. This is the same retreat that has sold out in seconds the past two years, for the same price. But with extra classes, with guest instructors, with a free cruise through the Caribbean and more time with us, the teachers or the podcasters. It's really... There's no downside to this. It's going to be awesome.
[Brandon] Sunburn. Yes.
[Dan] Sunburn. Okay, so you'll need more sunscreen.
[Brandon] You can register for this right now. On our website, you can go and it is live as of this post.
[Howard] Writingexcuses.com. We're on a boat.